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Shrapnel From Enemy Aircraft

Heroes Remember

Shrapnel From Enemy Aircraft

Interviewer: And I understand, Mr. Callas, that during one of your operations you had become wounded. We were hit by anti-aircraft fire, it was being fired ahead of us which the pilot saw but I didn’t see it but the explosion brought a piece of shrapnel through the back of my turret and around and hit on front spar on the front holder of the gun sights. It hit a little, slipped along and snipped into me but I didn’t know how much damage was caused. The pilot, which was common called, “Tail gunner okay?” Tail gunner said, “Tail gunner okay!” Then my turn next, “Mid upper okay?” And I said, “Well, I don’t know. I’m an awful mess. My flying suit is a whole mess and it’s all covered in blood.” But it was just the small needle end on the shrapnel that… I filed it off, actually I ground it off, very, very hard, that part came right out and over and that’s what caused there…. You can see the way it, that’s the inside and that’s the outside of the shell casing. It caused ripping but it came directly from the back turret and the pilot said the wireless operator’s desk was just below and ahead of my turret, he said, “Get up in the astro hatch where they take the astro shots and what do you see?” He didn’t use very polite words and he got in and said something like, “My God, you can see right through him.” And that scared the hell out of me. That’s about the only time I was scared. And I wasn’t scared in the point of just being scared, I was worried about my father, I was worried about my wife, well we were engaged actually. I can remember being apprehensive trying, I couldn’t do anything about that flak because they were ahead of us and the flak shell just come up in a stream and they set it at our level, at flight and explode, they just blow little bits of shrapnel all over. But their shells would be that high. Same as the ones I shot from the Oerlikon on the Queen Elizabeth going over. Interviewer: So where did the flak enter in your body? It didn’t enter my body, it must have gone around. I don’t know but just following the track of the tears in it. It came in; I could put both hands in the turret like this after. It spun right around and just nicked they call the breast bone and it must have just been that hook and then it must have veered off and put a little cut in it. I didn’t even go to the doctor, when we landed I just went to the medic, put a Band-aid on it.

Mr. Callas describes getting wounded by enemy fire and details how he and the crew reacted.

Charles Callas

Charles (Cal) Edgar Callas was born in Wainwright, Alberta, on February 24, 1924. He enlisted in Edmonton, Alberta, in late 1942 after completing grade 12. He completed basic training there and then enrolled in an SFTS (service flight training school) in Dauphin, Manitoba. Mr. Callas trained in Trenton, Ontario, and MacDonald, Manitoba, in bombing and gunnery, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Air Crew, 625 Squadron, 1 Bomber Command. He successfully completed 33 trips between March and July of 1944, and had achieved the rank of pilot officer when the war ended. He was presented with the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) in 1946 by the Governor General of Canada. He returned to Edmonton and married his fiancée Wynee Gould. They raised three children, and are proud of their seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Mr. Callas celebrates 70 years with the Royal Canadian Legion this year, as well as long time memberships with the Canadian Air Search and Rescue Association (Air Division), the Royal Canadian Air Force Association and the Army Reserve..

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 2, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Charles Callas
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
625 Squadron
Mid Upper / Tail Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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